Three CCOUC members participated in the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction 2016 (AMCDRR), jointly convened by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India from 2 to 5 November 2016. AMCDRR is held every two years and is the main established mechanism for regional governments to take shared responsibility and make actionable commitments toward the implementation of disaster risk reduction in the Asia region. This conference was the first ministerial conference to be held after the adoption of the Sendai Framework in March 2015, and sought to establish a concrete regional plan to implement the Sendai Framework at a national and local level within the Asian context.
During the event, CCOUC co-organised a thematic event entitled “Implementing the Health Aspects of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction – Follow Up on ‘The Bangkok Principles’” with the Royal Thai Government, World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia (WHO SEARO), MERCY Malaysia, University of Leicester from UK, Society for Administration of Telemedicine and Health Informatics (SATHI) Network from India and the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medicine Education. This two-hour session attended by more than 70 people featured eight presentations from distinguished experts, followed by a brief Q&A session. Health was highlighted as an outcome of all DRR activities, which requires further attention and mainstreaming within DRR circles. Challenges identified included enabling the greater integration of health and DRR within policy and practice, broadening the health-DRR paradigm to include preparedness, risk reduction, mitigation and resilience-building (beyond clinical emergency response), and addressing invisible health needs (such as mental health, psychosocial wellbeing and sexual and reproductive health) and the health needs of vulnerable populations (such as children, the disabled, and the elderly). Recommendations included the prioritisation of health within the conference outcome documents, investment in resilient and responsive health systems, development of multisectoral and multidisciplinary collaboration and the mainstreaming of DRR into health systems, which were incorporated into the “Asian Regional Plan for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030”. During the conference, the CCOUC team has also strengthened ties with partners from across the region, particularly from Bhutan, India and Myanmar.